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Bradypodion pumilum (GMELIN, 1789)

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cape Dwarf Chameleon
G: Buntes Zwergchamäleon 
SynonymChamaeleon bonae spei LAURENTI 1768 (?)
Lacerta pumila GMELIN in LINNAEUS 1789: 1069
Chamaeleon pumilus — MEYER 1795: 27
Chamaeleo thermophilus GRAVENHORST 1807: 429
Chamaeleo margaritaceus MERREM 1820
Chameleo pumillus — GRAY 1831 (err. pro Lacerta pumila GMELIN 1789)
Chamaeleo pumilus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 217
Lophosaura pumila var. fordii GRAY 1865
Lophosaura pumila — GRAY 1865: 350
Chamaeleon punilus — ANGEL 1929 (err. pro Ch. pumilus GMELIN 1789)
Chamaeleo pusillus var. ? — GRAY 1865 (err. pro Ch. pumilus, syn. B. ventrale)
Chamaeleon pumilus — LOVERIDGE 1936: 78
Microsaura pumila — ENGELBRECHT 1951
Chameleo pumillus pumillus — HILLENIUS 1959: 63
Chamaeleo pumilus — MERTENS 1966: 23
Microsaura pumila — BUSACK & BUSACK 1967
Bradypodion pumilum — RAW 1976: 141
Bradypodion pumilum pumilum — KLAVER & BÖHME 1997: 25
Bradypodion pumilum — NECAS 1999: 198
Bradypodion pumilum — BRANCH et al. 2006
Bradypodion pumilum — TILBURY 2010: 295
Bradypodion pumilum — CAMPBELL & DENZER 2020 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa, S Mozambique, S Namibia

Type locality: Cape of Good Hope, South Africa [by implication]  
TypesType: unlocated; based on SEBA (1734) 1; plate 83, fig. 5
Syntypes: NHMUK 1946.8.21.8 (Previously NHMUK1864.10.6.5), male, Haslar Collection; NHMUK 1946.8.22.16 (Previously NHMUK1855.10.16.118), male, Haslar Collection [fordii] 
CommentSubspecies: Note that many subspecies of B. pumilum are now treated as separate species (see the species entries for more information). For a long discussion on the nomenclature and status of this species see KLAVER & BÖHME 1997: 54.

Distribution: For a map see TOLLEY et al. (2004).

Type species: Lacerta pumila GMELIN in LINNAEUS 1789 is the type species of the genus Bradypodion FITZINGER 1843 (fide TILBURY et al. 2006).

Habitat: thickets, reed beds, and fynbos vegetation. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “pumilus” and “pumilio” = dwarf.

The genus is named after Greek “bradys” = slow and “podion”, diminutive of “podos” = foot: slow small-foot, referring to the slow movements generally and the small size of the type species. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, L. 2005. Traag van Tred: Bradypodion pumilum. Lacerta 63 (5): 180-190 - get paper here
  • Branch, Wiliam R., Krystal A. Tolley and Colin R. Tilbury 2006. A new Dwarf Chameleon (Sauria: Bradypodion Fitzinger, 1843) from the Cape Fold Mountains, South Africa. African Journal of Herpetology 55 (2):123-141. - get paper here
  • Busack, S.D., and L.D. Busack. 1967. Notes on the growth rate of Microsaura pumila pumila (Lacertidae: Chamaeleontidae). Herpetologica 23(3): 231–232
  • CAMPBELL, PATRICK D; WOLFGANG DENZER 2020. Annotated catalogue of chameleon types in the collection of the Natural History Museum, UK (NHMUK) (Reptilia: Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). Zootaxa 4742 (3): 481–500 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M. C. and G. Bibron. 1836. Erpetologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol. 3. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 528 pp. - get paper here
  • Engelbrecht, D. van Z. 1951. Contributions to the cranial morphology of the chameleon Microsaura pumila Daudin. Annals of the University of Stellenbosch, (A), 27: 4–31
  • Fraser M. 2023. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 13: 162–185. 14 March 2023 - get paper here
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). [type catalogue] Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Gmelin, J.F. 1789. Caroli a Linné Systema naturae. 13. ed., Tom 1 Pars 3. G. E. Beer, Lipsiae. 1033-1516 pp. - get paper here
  • Gravenhorst, J. L. C. 1807. Vergleichende Übersicht des Linneischen und einiger neueren zoologischen Systeme, nebst dem eingeschalteten Verzeichnisse der zoologischen Sammlung des Verfassers und den Beschreibungen neuer Thierarten, die in derselben vorhanden sind. Heinrich Dietrich, Göttingen: i-xvi + 1-476. - get paper here
  • Gray,J.E. 1865. Revision of the genera and species of Chamaeleonidae, with the description of some new species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 340-354 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Higham, Timothy E.; G. John Measey, Aleksandra V. Birn-Jeffery, Anthony Herrel and Krystal A. Tolley 2015. Functional divergence between morphs of a dwarf chameleon: differential locomotor kinematics in relation to habitat structure. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, DOI: 10.1111/bij.12566 - get paper here
  • Hillenius, D. 1959. The differentiation within the genus Chamaeleo LAURENTI 1768. Beaufortia, Amsterdam, 8: 1-92.
  • Katz, Eric M.; Krystal A. Tolley & Jacqueline M. Bishop 2014. Temporal changes in allelic variation among Cape Dwarf Chameleons, Bradypodion pumilum, inhabiting a transformed, semi-urban wetland. African Journal of Herpetology 63: 1-12 - get paper here
  • Katz, Eric M.; Tolley, Krystal A.; Altwegg, Res 2013. Survival and abundance of Cape dwarf chameleons, Bradypodion pumilum, inhabiting a transformed, semi-urban wetland. The Herpetological Journal 23 (4): 179-186 - get paper here
  • Klaver, Ch. 1973. Lung anatomy: aid in Chameleon taxonomy. Beaufortia 20 (269): 155-176
  • Klaver, Ch. 1977. Comparative lung-morphology in the genus Chamaeleo Laurenti, 1768 (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae) with a discussion of taxonomic and zoogeographic implications. Beaufortia 25 (327): 167-199
  • Klaver, Ch. J.J. & Böhme,W. 1997. Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich, 112: XIV, 1-85
  • Laurenti, J. N. 1768. Specimen medicum, exhibens synopsin reptilium emendatam cum experimentis circa venena et antidota reptilium austracorum, quod authoritate et consensu. Vienna, Joan. Thomae, 217 pp. - get paper here
  • LEE, PATRICIA L.M.; CRAIG D.H. SHERMAN, LEE A. ROLLINS, ERIK WAPSTRA & KARL P. PHILLIPS. 2022. Do female amphibians and reptiles have greater reproductive output if they have more mates? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 76(7): 96. - get paper here
  • Leptien, R. 2003. Namibia - auf der Suche nach dem Wüstenchamäleon. Reptilia (Münster) 8 (44): 42-46 - get paper here
  • Leptien, Rolf 2018. Zwischen Brandberg und den Dünen Swakopmunds – auf der Suche nach dem Palmatogecko. Draco 16 (64): 68-72 [2015] - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Measey, G. John; Kevin Hopkins, Krystal A. Tolley 2009. Morphology, ornaments and performance in two chameleon ecomorphs: is the casque bigger than the bite? Zoology 112 (3): 217-226 - get paper here
  • Mertens, Robert 1966. Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien: Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich 83: 1-37
  • Meyer, F.A.A. 1795. Synopsis Reptilium, novam ipsorum sistens generum methodum, nec non Gottingensium huius ordinis animalium enumerationem. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, Göttingen, 32 pp [for current names see Rösler & Böhme 2021] - get paper here
  • Necas, P. 1995. Chamäleons - bunte Juwelen der Natur. Edition Chimaira bei Bücher-Kreth (Frankfurt/M., Germany)
  • Necas, Petr 1999. Chameleons - Nature's Hidden Jewels. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt; 348 pp.; ISBN 3-930612-04-6 (Europe)<br />ISBN 1-57524-137-4 (USA, Canada)
  • Raw, L. R. G. 1976. A survey of the dwarf chameleons of Natal, South Africa, with description of three new species (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae). Durban Mus. Novit. 11(7): 139-161.
  • Rebelo, Alexander D., Res Altwegg, Eric M. Katz & Krystal A. Tolley. 2022. Out on a limb: female chameleons (Bradypodion pumilum) position themselves to minimise detection, whereas males maximise mating opportunity. African Journal of Herpetology 0(0): 1–12. - get paper here
  • Rösler, Herbert & Wolfgang Böhme 2021. Das Leben von Friedrich Albrecht Anton Meyer (1768 – 1795) und die Herpetologie in seinen Schriften, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der „Synopsis Reptilium“. Sekretär 21: 83-129
  • Schmidt, W. 1991. A multicoloured chamaeleon Bradypodion pumilum (Germ.) Ein buntes Zwergchamaeleon aus Südafrika, Bradypodion pumilum. DATZ 44 (12): 778-783
  • Schmidt, W. 1992. Versuche mit Umwegaufgaben beim Zwergchamäleon Bradypodion pumilum (GMELIN, 1799). Salamandra 28 (3-4): 270-274 - get paper here
  • SCHMIDT, W. 1994. Gedanken zur Problematik bei der Aufzucht von Nachzuchten verschiedener Chamäleon -Arten. Sauria 16 (2): 35-38 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, W. 1994. Bradypodion pumilum (GMELIN, 1789). Sauria 16 Suppl.: 311–314 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, W.; Tamm, K. & Wallikewitz, E. 2010. Chamäleons - Drachen unserer Zeit. Natur und Tier Verlag, 328 pp. [review in Reptilia 101: 64, 2013] - get paper here
  • Stuart-Fox, D. & Moussalli, A. 2007. Sex-specific ecomorphological variation and the evolution of sexual dimorphism in dwarf chameleons (Bradypodion spp.). J. evol. Biol. 20: 1073-1081 - get paper here
  • Stuart-Fox, D. & Moussalli, A. 2008. Selection for Social Signalling Drives the Evolution of Chameleon Colour Change. PloS Biol. 6 (1): e25 (doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060025|) - get paper here
  • Stuart-Fox, D.; Moussalli, A. & Whiting, M.J. 2007. Natural Selection on Social Signals: Signal Efficacy and the Evolution of Chameleon Display Coloration. American Naturalist 170 (6): 916-930 - get paper here
  • Tilbury, C. 2010. Chameleons of Africa: An Atlas, Including the Chameleons of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt M., 831 pp.
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  • TOLLEY, KRYSTAL A. 2022. Is it like night and day? Nocturnal versus diurnal perch use by dwarf chameleons (Bradypodion pumilum). African Journal of Herpetology 0(0): 1–15. - get paper here
  • Tolley, Krystal A.; Colin R. Tilbury, William R. Branch and Conrad A. Matthee 2004. Phylogenetics of the southern African dwarf chameleons, Bradypodion (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30 (2): 354-365 - get paper here
  • Tolley, Krystal A.; Lucas F. Chauke, Jennifer C. Jackson & Kevin A. Feldheim 2014. Multiple paternity and sperm storage in the Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum). African Journal of Herpetology 63: 47-56 - get paper here
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